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By Tim Wise
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor–and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a “light” burden.
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.
White privilege is, in short, the problem.
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”
* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you’re a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack, you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* If you name your kids Bristol, Trig, and Track, you’re a maverick.
* If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.
* If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.
* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you’re very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America’s.
* If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, *much* clearer now.
(I didn’t write this, just so you know.)
Upon first watching this video, it is easy to get caught up in raw emotion. A young US ‘Iraq war’ veteran speaks passionately about his service, the service of our troops, and the importance of sacrifice for freedom. He lectures Senator Barack Obama for saying our invasion of Iraq was a mistake, claiming that the sacrifices made by our troops has brought the Iraqis freedom that they haven’t had before. He says Obama’s criticism dishonors the service of our troops, and that Obama doesn’t understand that freedom comes with a price. Because of all this, the soldier says he’s backing John McCain, who has served our country and understands what it means to sacrifice for country.
Near the end of the video, the solider walks away from the camera to reveal what we can assume to be his wounds acquired from battle. The man has lost a leg, and he has had it replaced with an artificial one. As walks in the distance, the music “I’m proud to be an American” beings to play. Then an image of John McCain comes up with the text “The day we lose our will to fight is the day we lose our freedom.”
I would first like to state that any criticism of this video is not intended in any way to demean or dishonor the service and sacrifice of this soldier or any of our troops. We can honor their service without supporting this political video. So I hope no one takes what I am about to say as an attack on our brave men and women in uniform.
Having said that, I can honestly say that this video is absolutely disgusting. There is a reason that politicians are not supposed to use our troops for political gain. Regardless of who wins, democrat or republican, our troops must serve in a non-partisan fashion under the Commander in Chief to protect our nation. Senator Obama could very well be our next Commander in Chief, and it is dangerously harmful to our nation for those in our military to believe he dishonors or disrespects the troops. Those sentiments are divisive and leave our troops weaker and more vulnerable.
The argument made in the video is really pretty silly. There is a big difference between the decision a President makes to go to war, and the service and sacrifice our troops make when they are deployed to war. It is like saying someone is disrespecting engineers and construction workers when they are critical of the “bridge to no where”. It makes no sense. This soldier might very well see some “thankful” Iraqi citizens who appreciate their new “freedoms” we’ve brought them in Iraq (at the expense of 4000+ American lives and who knows how many Iraqi and Iraqi citizens lives). But that doesn’t mean the decision to go into Iraq following 9/11 was a good one. We all know that Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda are still on the loose and have actually grown stronger since the US has been fighting in Iraq. In a recent interview with FOX News, right wing news anchor Bill O’reilly told Obama that he was right in his judgment in 2002 that going into Iraq was a mistake. So will this soldier also make a video bashing O’reilly?
There are a few fundamental American traits that the right wing has tried to hi-jack as strictly and exclusively belonging to their party. Attributes like honor, patriotism, love of country, integrity, morality and family values. By making these false claims of exclusive ownership, they indirectly paint their opponents (the democrats) as dishonorable, unpatriotic, not loving America, lacking integrity, immoral and lacking family values. It appears this political spin (aka falsehood and propaganda) has affected the mind of this young soldier.
I wonder if he did he research and learned that, despite his opposition to the war, Obama voted consistently to fund the troops so they could have the equipment they needed in battle. I wonder if he learned that Obama supported the new GI Bill that George Bush reluctantly passed and John McCain opposed. I wonder if he took time to learn about the plans Obama has to reduce homelessness amongst veterans, and provide health care for those with PTSD. I wonder if he learned that Obama’s grandfather (who helped raise him) was a WWII veteran, and his uncle was in the service as well (so he knows the value of service in his own family). I wonder if that young soldier read a newspaper overseas, and saw how unpopular this war is even amongst our allies, and how it has dropped George Bush’s reputation both here in the US and around the world. I wonder if that soldier learned of how popular Barack Obama is in America and overseas and how a strong part of why he is the nominee over Hillary is because of his judgment on Iraq.
I wonder if that soldier has been paying attention to the leadership in Iraq, which along with the Bush administration is now following Obama’s advice to set a timetable in Iraq to withdraw our troops. I wonder if that soldier realized how arrogant and ridiculous he sounded to accuse Barack Obama of dishonoring our troops when even our troops are donating to the Obama campaign 6-to-1 over John McCain because they recognize Obama has better leadership ability and judgment than even this former POW.
In conclusion, this soldier dishonored his own servive by politicizing it to help John McCain. Service is service, not a campaign ad. I hope that young soldier realized that he wasn’t fighting for the Republican party, he was fighting for the United States. Barack Obama is just as much a part of the United States as John McCain is. And while you might disagree with him on his policies, it’s way below the belt to accuse him of dishonoring our troops because of that. These baseless, insulting, false, and disgusting attacks have no place in our politics. That US soldier should be ashamed of his political video.
READ THIS FIRST: The following are 6 10 minute videos containing 18 reasons why McCain is unqualified to be Commander in Chief, and he might even be dangerous as one. The man in this video is older, and you might not care for his music, but if you have patience he actually makes some really good and important points (and observations). He’s very insightful. I have the videos listed from parts 2-6, with part 1 at the end because I believe for some people part 1 might seem to drag on a bit instead of getting to the point, so I don’t want anyone discouraged.
I recommend starting with Part 2, 3, OR 4 (in part 4, he gives reasons why McCain might be a mama’s boy, lol!) Anyway, enjoy, discuss, share!
(NOTE: I also found it really helpful if you listen to these videos in the background while you’re doing something else, rather than just sitting there for an hour watching each one individually.)